If you consciously choose to EXPERIENCE a city rather than just visit it, you will take home so much more than just a fond memory.
Enjoy the East Tawas region with the purposeful mindset of slowing down and enjoying the great outdoors. I can easily spend a full day exploring, photographing and engaging in conversations with locals while enjoying this beautiful city.
Gateway Park is the first park you will see if you are arriving in Tawas City from the south. It's worth taking the time to pull over, maybe meander around the beautiful curved rocky shoreline and take a few precious moments to relax under the shade trees.
Gateway Park is home to the Northeast Michigan Regional Farm Market that operates on Saturdays. This pretty park is situated right along the water and has a swing set and and a small play area for kids.
The covered pavilion is a great shady spot for lunches and the park has nice restrooms. It's a great place to enjoy a packed lunch while watching the waves crash against the rocks! (which is exactly what I did!)
Just a couple miles from Gateway Park is Shoreline Park. This park has a covered pavilion and a short pier with grass and benches facing the water. Enjoy a walk out on the pier for views of the beach and shoreline. If you are hungry, Tony's Tacos has a small stand here.
Upon arriving in East Tawas Michigan, be sure to park at Harbor Park. It's definitely my favorite place to park as it is centrally located for the marina, shopping, dining and relaxing.
Harbor Park is located at the corner of Newman St. and West Bay Street (US 23). Plus there is a nice large restroom...hey, it's super convenient to know these things! If the gate is down the parking is only $1. So park, jump out and start exploring!!
Hungry? Since you are parked at Harbor Park, you can't miss Pronto Pups, a cute little walk up serving yummy corn dogs and treats. They are located right next to the boardwalk and the parking lot! Enjoy your corn dog while watching the waves crash against the rocks!
I highly recommend walking around the pretty and well maintained boardwalk to view the sparkling water, boats in the marina and numerous fisherman. I love reading the boat names and picking out my favorite vessel.
People are friendly here so don't be afraid to ask the fishermen how the fishing is going. I struck up a conversation with an elderly fisherman that was visiting from Alaska. He was more than willing to share his fishing secrets and tell stories of the places he has visited. We talked for about a half hour and I even watched him catch a golden perch!
I sat on the bench pictured below for quite some time to just take a moment and soak in the views from a stationary position. Sometimes it's so easy for us to keep walking, moving and talking that we don't take time to just...be.
Breathe, watch the seagulls, notice the smells, sounds and FEEL of the area. Let it soak it in. Take a moment to re-center. You will be glad you did.
Newman Street is a beautiful shady tree lined street packed full of shopping, boutiques, tea shops, restaurants and a chocolate shop. Be sure to stop at The Tea House for bubble tea or my personal favorite, iced chai tea.
Hungry? Mr Jack'ss Sports Bar & Grill has outside seating which is a must for me on a gorgeous day. They have great ribs! While talking to a local merchant, it was recommended I try Mangos Mexican Cusine and Tequila Bar for an excellent meal.
Shopping...Be sure to stop at The Ladies' Room, a fantastically curated women's clothing and accessory boutique located on Newman Street. I really enjoyed speaking with Lisa, the owner of this lovely shop. She shared her inspiring entrepreneurial story and that her shop had just opened in November of 2017.
Lisa has a great sense of style and is so friendly and easy to talk to. The shop is very colorful, hip and affordable.
686 Tawas Beach Rd
Now it's time to hit the beach! Continue east on US-23 until you reach Tawas Beach Road. Turn right onto this road and drive until you reach the entrance to the State Park.
You will need a current Recreational Passport to enter the Tawas Point State Park. You may also purchase one upon arrival.
Hungry? Tawas Point Grill has tons of options including burgers, fries, bbq and tacos. Lots of drinks too.
The great thing is that you can bring your own lunches and eat them in their large screened pavilion right near the beach. Or you can enjoy The Grill's deck that overlooks the water and sand. I spotted a couple grills so you can bring hot dogs and charcoal to create a fun meal.
Want to Camp? See the image above with the campsite numbers and locations. The State Park offers traditional camping, a variety of cabins and a yurt. Be sure to reserve your site as soon as possible by visiting here.
Aching to get out on the water? Rent kayaks and paddle boards from Tawas Bay Paddle Shack! No time like the present to learn a new skill!!
As you head toward the lighthouse, you will pass the Saginaw Bay Birding Trail on your left.
This trail runs parallel to the Sandy Hook Nature Trail. When this trail ends just continue and head to your right to connect to the Sandy Hook Nature Trail.
This trail highlights the largest continuous freshwater coaster wetland system in the United States and the birds that live there. WOW!!! Pretty Cool!
Bring your binoculars, water and comfortable walking shoes as this trail is not paved.
On the other side of the parking lot from the beach is the Lighthouse, gift shop and Sandy Hook Nature Trail. The lighthouse offers tours at select times so I recommend stopping there before hitting the beach so you can plan your day and not miss the tour.
The lighthouse is simply stunning near sunset, the red and white colors are so striking! I enjoy seeing this lighthouse in the afternoon and in the evening for a complete experience.
To the east of the Lighthouse is a paved path that leads to a pet friendly beach area and the campground. Be sure to also visit the small gift shop that features books, clothing and gifts pertaining to the area.
686 Tawas Beach Rd
To the west of the Lighthouse is the Sandy Hook Nature Trail. To find the Sandy Hook Nature Trail, head toward the tiny white shack that is a porta-john. As you pass the shack, you will see a wide trail that is a straight shot to the point.
Just a few feet into the wide trail you will see a very narrow trail off to the right. Take this narrow trail to follow along the coastline to the point.
Note: The trail is narrow, sandy and at times wet. Wear proper footwear for the 1.5 mile one way trek.
This spectacular trail has stolen my heart. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I vowed after this last trip to visit at least twice a summer. It has such a calming affect to the mind and soul as you walk past glorious grasslands, birch trees and ponds with happy floating ducks.
Take your time, sit on a bench and watch the waves. It's so calming.
Upon reaching the tip you may spot windsurfers catching the waves. Hundreds of birds rest on the sand spits offering you exquisite photographic opportunities.
During the annual migrations, Tawas Point State Park is one of the hottest birding spots in the Midwest.
Tawas Point collects migrants moving along the coastline and concentrates them at the point.
Spectacular transient shorebirds, gulls, waterfowl, songbirds, hawks, falcons, owls, and eagles attract birders from throughout North America during the spring and fall migrations.
Tawas City Park, 407 W Bay St, East Tawas, MI 48730
Enjoy this event each August! Enjoy a wide variety of art while strolling through the grassy park!